For me, another interesting thing to look at is what other people say about the man, his coaching and his personality. With that in mind, I decided to collect Paul Johnson quotables here on this post. I'm not looking for everything. I'm looking for the keepers.... and when I see keepers, I mean quotes about the man from people who's opinion might be interesting. I'm talking directly from his coaching fraternity, coaches who have played against him, players that have played for him, and even his own family. In addition, there are quotes from the man himself.
There is some interesting stuff out there, so with that, I'll break it down into the following categories:
DIRECT FROM THE HORSES MOUTH
Paul Johnson.......... "This offense is a combination of things I've picked up over the years. It's a little bit of Wisbhone, a little bit of I-formation, a little bit of Veer, a little bit of Run-and-Shoot," Johnson explained. "I've grabbed and took bits and pieces from different sets and gradually evolved it into what we're doing today."
“I think that people have gotten too carried away with the triple-option, because that’s only one phase of the offense,” Johnson said. “If we have 75 plays, we’re not going to run 70 times. There’s a run-and-shoot package. There’s a play-action package. There’s different running plays besides the option. And, certainly, there are all kinds of options — counter option, speed option. We’ve got a sprint-out passing game. We’ve got draws. The key will be to come together with what our personnel here can do best.”
On recruiting at GT.......... "We have some issues here in recruiting because of the academics," Johnson said. "If we can't recruit such-and-such a kid what are (the recruits) going to say, 'I can't get in at Tech?' They're going to say, 'I don't like that offense,' or 'I don't like the coach,' or 'They didn't do a good job recruiting me.'" ................... "All these rankings are a joke anyway," he said. "We're probably not going to get a receiver who wants to catch 100 balls here. But if catching 100 balls is more important than winning, I don't want him anyway."
AZ State HC Dennis Erickson.............. "Without a doubt," Arizona State's Dennis Erickson said when asked if Johnson could get it done at Georgia Tech. "That's what he knows. He'll recruit to that offense and get better players than he ever had at Navy."
Mark Richt on why he thinks PJ will be successful with the triple option.............. "One, it's proven," Richt said. "Two, the coach is proven, too. He's done nothing but win everywhere he's been."
Wake Forest HC Jim Grobe............ "You just don't see anybody doing that anymore, so (Navy is) very unique … and they do it better than anyone we've ever seen," Grobe said. "Knowing things you'd like to do to stop the option is one thing. But being able to prepare for it in a week, getting the scout team to perform at the same speed of a game, is quite another........ "There are so many problems that go into preparing for this offense that knowing what to do doesn't always do much for you. You've got to be able to practice it, and nobody can do a very good job of that."..................... “Nobody’s played good defense against them,” Grobe said. “That’s not that nobody can play good defense, it’s that Navy’s so good at moving the football. And that puts a lot of pressure on you offensively because you feel like when you get the opportunity to go out there that you have to take care of the ball and make some first downs. When you have opportunities to score, you’d better take advantage of them.............. “This is a Navy offense that is a four-down offense. They’re not afraid to go on fourth down anywhere on the field. It could be on their own 20 coming out. These guys don’t like to punt the football.” ................ "He’s been doing this for a long, long time,” Grobe said of Johnson, whom he has known since he was an assistant at Air Force and Johnson was Hawaii’s offensive coordinator. “He’s been one of those coaches that’s stayed true to his belief. He hasn’t wavered with whatever the latest trend is, he’s stayed with what he knows is successful......... "That’s why they run it so well. Paul knows this offense better than anybody who has ever run it. There’s not anything you can throw at him he hasn’t seen. And they coach it as well as it’s ever been coached. That’s the key."
Washington Head Coach Ty Willingham..................... "This man has run his system for so long he knows every heartbeat," said Willingham, who faced Johnson's Navy teams three times while coaching Notre Dame. "He knows where every shoelace goes through every eyelet. He knows all of that. So, therefore, when you move here, guess what he does? He's already moved there."
Rutgers HC Greg Schiano.............. "It's such a hard job on the inside, people are just nipping at you, and they're always at your feet. It's a nasty game and that's the way Navy likes it. They really try to get you distracted. They cut-block tremendously, probably the best that I've ever seen. You really have to work hard at this stuff.".......... "If you get them down three scores, that's something. One or two scores, they stay in their offense. Again, they're incredible. Fourth down and one or less, past the negative 35 yard line and they're going for it. You're in fourth down territory once they past their 35 yard line, so you have to change your thinking. They are 36-10 over the last 46 games with four straight bowl games. They are doing what they said in the modern day couldn't be done"......................... "I'm thankful that there aren't more [teams] on our schedule that do it. I love the challenge and it is a special week for a defensive coach because it's something different and you get your juices going, but I'd just as soon rather not have to deal with it."
Northern Illinois head coach Joe Novak on Navy................ "Nobody, and I mean nobody, stops them from running the football. They are as good on offense as any team I've ever seen.""It is the best offense we have faced by far," said Northern coach Joe Novak. "This is the kind of offense that runs you out of coaching when you are trying to defend it, it's that good."
Former Duke Coach Carl Franks.............."Navy has moved the ball on every team it's played, including N.C. State," Duke coach Carl Franks marveled. "Paul has put together a very dangerous offense that is extremely challenging to face. I don't think you can completely stop that offense, you just have to try and slow it down."
Roger Staubach................. "He's done a good job of recruiting (at Navy), and he knows how to use the players he gets," said Navy's most famous player, 1963 Heisman Trophy winner Roger Staubach, who later guided the Dallas Cowboys to two Super Bowl titles. "Paul is a really good X's and O's guy, and his teams are always well prepared. He really knows how to use that system, and he gets the kind of players who can make it work............... "Football is not exactly what the academy is about, but it's important for the spirit there. They like to be proud of the athletic teams. It's a tribute to Paul and his staff that they've brought a lot of excitement back by making Navy very competitive in Division I-A."Staubach will toss the coin when the Midshipmen open the season in Philadelphia against Temple Aug. 31........................ "When you're playing for him you don't realize how great of a football mind he has," said Tracy Ham, who was the Georgia Southern quarterback when Johnson was the offensive coordinator in the ’80s. "When you get older, you see how much knowledge he has. He knows what he wants to do and never leaves anything on the sidelines. And he's one of the great game-day coaches.".............................. "He's special to me," Ham said. "He knows what it takes to get the most out of players. A lot of people fear what he does. And he's still running the same stuff now he was then."
Paul's wife Susan................ So what was it that first attracted Susan to Paul? Was it his Southern charm? Perhaps a fancy one-liner he delivered? ............“I guess it was…he’s always had a high opinion of himself. He’s very self confident – very assured of what he was doing. I was attracted to that,” said Susan Johnson. “He was also very handsome and smart.’................... But what about that Southern charm… “Well, he’ll say I chased him and he finally let me catch him.” ..........But surely, there must have been a pretty impressive proposal? .............. “Actually we just had a little spat, and then, he’s like, here [you go] and he handed me an engagement ring. That’s the way he did it.".......................... “I think the thing with Hawaii was Paul was in a position where he was in charge of the offense because Coach Wagner was a defensive guy. So Paul knew he was calling the plays – calling the shots on the offense. That means a lot when you are an assistant coach and somebody isn’t always second guessing,” said Susan Johnson."............................. “I don’t think it was actually until he heard a few people tell him he couldn’t win at Navy that he changed his mind. That and the fact that Kaitlyn wanted to live someplace where it snowed,” joked Susan Johnson.................. On season #1, a rough one for PJ at Navy - After the SMU game, Navy went on to lose its next ten games by almost 200 points combined. Those losses translated into a lot of long days at work for the Navy coaches............. “He and the staff were at the office all the time, even at the peak of dawn on Sundays, but there was really no second guessing about [the decision] to come to Annapolis,” remarked Susan Johnson................. But with one game, the most important game, everything seemed to change overnight...... “When we beat Army [58-12] to end the year, it gave everyone hope. It almost single-handily wiped out the previous ten losses,” noted Susan Johnson................. On his relationships with players - “He is very loyal to them. He’ll take care of them. I see that with the relationships he has with his former players.” But she cautioned, “They are not going to be able to lie their way out of something. The players need to be honest with him because that is what they will get from [Paul].”.................. “He’s very competitive,” said Susan Johnson. “Even when Kaitlyn was younger and they were playing a game, [Paul] would never let her win.”........ “It’s especially difficult to win an argument with him because he has a memory like an elephant. He remembers everything,” she added.................... “He’s very hard on himself. He’ll talk [the loss] through, but he doesn’t really want us to respond. He’ll say, ‘we should’ve done this,’ and if I say something, he’ll say ‘that’s not the way it was,’”............. On her daughter's reaction to losing - “Kaitlyn will cry, she can’t help it,” said her mom. “Fortunately we haven’t lost that much…but that first year [at Navy] she didn’t know how to act.”
Daughter Kaitlyn on PJ's triple option..................... “Dad never likes people to tell him that he can’t do something,” she said. “[When people say to me] this option won’t work in the BCS, I tell them it’s working at Florida and West Virginia.”.................... Wife Susan on staying at Navy or leaving - “The only reason I would want him to do that (leave) is to prove to the naysayer that he can do it. I know that he can, but does he need to prove it to everyone else? I don’t think so,” said Susan Johnson. “[However] if the opportunity presented itself, I think it would have to be considered. You can’t not listen.”
Wife Susan on her cooking................... “[Paul] doesn’t like to eat my cooking – you can quote me on that,” said Susan Johnson. “I’m the take-out queen of Annapolis.”................ On PJ's favorite take-out in Annapolis - “Fajita nachos from Chevy’s – he’ll order the same thing every time,”
............. On superstitions - “We’re a little superstitious…if we win on Friday (against Temple) then I have to go eat with him again [at the same restaurant] the next week. You have to do what you did the week before.”................. “[Paul] comes home for dinner every night now. That wasn’t the case when we first got here. I think it’s really important to him for his coaches to have some family time.”
Paul's daughter Kaitlyn.................... “I’ll DVR the games and re-watch them on Sundays at least once to see what [the commentators] said. I don’t want anyone trashing [my dad].”............. “Dad is very serious when he is grading film…he’ll write something down for every play,” she added. “He’s really focused on what we did well and what we need to do better for next week.”............... “During games, he does impressions really well…he can mimic somebody – even college coaches,” ....................... Kaitlyn continued by saying that her dad “hates it when coaches look at their clipboards.”.............. In response to her daughter’s comment, Susan Johnson quickly interjected, “He doesn’t hate it.” Mom then added, “But he does make a lot of comments during the games.” Her daughter insisted though that “In the NFL they do it a lot and dad will say, ‘there they go, looking at that board again.’”...................... “If we ever lose a game, and its close, he’ll second guess himself and he’ll have to work through it a lot,” said Kaitlyn Johnson.............
Writer Gregg Doyel................. "Navy should never, and I mean ever, beat Notre Dame. Navy isn't as good as it has been under sixth-year head coach Paul Johnson, but Johnson has an excuse. He's been trying to recruit players to the Naval Academy with the country at war. Playing football for Navy today means fighting in a war tomorrow. Playing football for Navy is literally a matter of life and death."....... (Navy did beat Notre Dame in PJ's last season with Navy).